Reviewers say Healthy Paws is a standout for several reasons. It doesn't cap benefits, a potential boon for particularly unfortunate pets, and it covers prescriptions as well as congenital and hereditary problems. However, there's no option for routine care coverage and the price can be steeper than competitors' offerings, pet owners say. While customer service receives a lot of praise, some complain that their claims are wrongly denied for involving pre-existing conditions.
No option for routine care coverage. Healthy Paws offers customizable accident, illness and injury coverage for dogs and cats after a 15-day waiting period. Pets must be between 8 weeks and 14 years old to get coverage. The plan covers hereditary and congenital conditions including hip dysplasia, but pets must be enrolled before the age of 6 and are subject to a 12-month waiting period for hip dysplasia coverage. Diagnostic tests and imaging, hospitalization, surgery and prescriptions are also covered.
Pre-existing conditions are excluded, as is routine care. This includes veterinary exam fees, spaying and neutering, non-injury-related dental care, vaccinations and parasite control.
Unlimited lifetime benefits. Experts say there may be cheaper plans than Healthy Paws, but prices depend on several customizable options. Customers can choose from a $100, $200 or $500 annual deductible and 70, 80 or 90 percent reimbursement level. There's no annual, lifetime or per-incident cap on benefits. Discounts include price cuts for members of employer-sponsored plans, animal welfare volunteers, active service members, alumni association members, and members of groups such as AAA and AARP. Premiums are subject to "manageable" increases based on rising care costs, the company says.
Customer service goes the extra mile. Healthy Paws accepts claims via email, fax or mail. Most pet owners are satisfied with the claims process, saying it's relatively painless and reimbursements are quick. However, several complain that the company wrongly denies legitimate claims by branding them as pre-existing conditions even when there's little evidence of such. Still, customer service gets strong reviews across the board, with some owners saying representatives follow up to inquire about a pet's well-being or send sympathy cards after a loss. Experts praise Healthy Paws' easy-to-understand website, clear coverage explanations and thorough quote generator.
1. Canine Journal
Healthy Paws earns praise for customer service, few exclusions, its lack of lifetime limits, out-of-state coverage and coverage for hip dysplasia. However, plans can be pricey and the young company may yet change its policies.
Review: Pet Insurance Comparison, Amy B., July 15, 2013
Healthy Paws ranks first among a dozen providers with a 9.8 out of 10 overall rating from more than 625 customers. Many say they have fast, low-hassle claims and speedy reimbursements. Others praise customer service, but some complain that the company wouldn't cover legitimate expenses that they said were pre-existing conditions.
Review: Healthy Paws Insurance, Contributors to PetInsuranceReview.com, As of August 2013
Healthy Paws ranks third on this list of the eight best pet insurers, with editors praising its easy-to-use website; simple, customizable plan; no-cap coverage; quick reimbursement; and strong customer service. However, routine care and pre-existing conditions aren't covered, and pricing could be more competitive.
Review: Pet Insurance, Editors of TopConsumerReviews.com, Not dated
4. Pet Insurance University
Wilkerson calls Healthy Paws a "strong underwriter" that offers coverage during out-of-state travels and a high lifetime maximum. Hereditary and congenital diseases, chronic diseases, hip dysplasia for younger pets and cancer are covered. Dental coverage is limited, however, and exam fees aren't covered for accidents, injuries and illnesses.
Review: A Vet's Review of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, Frances Wilkerson, Not dated
Healthy Paws ranks first out of 10 companies here. Editors appreciate a low deductible, strong reimbursement, lack of restrictions for hereditary or congenital claims, comprehensive coverage including prescriptions and no-cap payouts. However, rates can be higher than with other carriers, and routine care and pre-existing conditions aren't covered.
Review: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, Editors of ConsumersAdvocate.org, Not dated
6. Veterinary Team Brief
Nash highlights findings from the eBook "Pet Insurance Buyer's Guide," which praises Healthy Paws for covering hereditary conditions, forgoing annual limits and offering strong customer service.
Review: All-in-One Guide: Help Clients Ferret Out the Best Pet Insurance, Meg Nash, Not dated
After about 65 customer ratings, Healthy Paws gets scores of 4.9 out of 5 for customer service, 4.1 for price and 4.9 for coverage. Site editors say it stands out for customizable plans, a range of deductibles and good customer service.
Review: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, Contributors to PetInsuranceRatings.com, As of August 2013
Healthy Paws gets 4.5 stars out of 5 after about 25 reviews. Most pet owners report excellent customer service, including follow-ups and sympathy cards, as well as quick reimbursements. A couple of reviewers say their pets had legitimate claims that were denied for being pre-existing conditions, however, and another complains about service.
Review: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation, Contributors to Yelp.com, As of August 2013